After last week’s big “holy shit!” episode, I figured “Crawl Space” might take it easy a bit, let us all settle down for a minute then really hit us hard for the last couple episodes of the season. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty winded after “Crawl Space.” In fact, this is easily – in the super bleak last act stretch, anyway – the darkest episode to date of Breaking Bad. But before we talk about that last scene, let’s look around and see what our characters were up to in this episode.
Skyler gets a call from Ted, the guy saying he has a check for her (not the full amount, naturally), that his life won’t get any better by merely paying off the IRS. She tears it up, asks him to write a new one, guy refuses. She gets Saul involved and soon enough the great comedian Bill Burr and Huell are at his door, forcing him to write the check and fill out the paperwork. They get that much done, then Ted takes off for the door and trips and breaks his neck. (Was wondering what his tripping on the rug in his first scene was foreshadowing.) So Skyler’s now responsible for one guy’s death (though she doesn’t know it yet) and now possibly the deaths of Walt, herself, and their two kids – but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Jesse comes through and gets Fring and Mike to Fring’s secret medical lab, saves both their lives, finds out that Fring had some blood and medical shit on hand for Jesse if he’d been hurt as well (really liked this idea of Fring’s private, mobile unit medical emergency team). As they head out for el norte on foot, Fring makes it expressly clear that, yes, Jesse can do this job alone – without Walt. Jesse makes it clear that that’s not kosher with him, but not nearly so clear as he did a couple weeks ago at Gus’ house, you’ll notice. He also proves that he has yet to forgive Walt when Walt shows up at his house (while Jesse was playing video games with Brock), making Gus’ later prediction, that eventually Jesse will come around to the idea of no more Walt, a distinct possibility. (Side note – love that scene of Gus assuring Salamanca that indeed, his entire fucking family is deader than shit.)
But Walt was the one who really went through the ringer in “Crawl Space.” He’s worried about Jesse’s fate down in Mexico, asks Hank if he’s heard of anything going on with the Cartel. Then he discovers that Hank has figured out about the laundry, the guy realizing that the farm is a bust, has to get the ol’ Aztek in a car crash to avoid taking the two of them there. Neither are too badly hurt and Hank isn’t suspicious about it (kinda lamely, I thought) but Hank tells Walt he’s ordered a disability car he can drive on his own, making Walt and anyone else unnecessary as his chauffeur.
Then he goes back to work, rolled in in a basket of dirty laundry, finds that someone else has been using the lab while he’s been gone. Figuring Jesse’s back, he stops by to discuss how obsolete Jesse is making his life by working in the lab alone only to be taken out into a field and told by Gus to fuck off, you’re fired, leave Jesse alone. Walt calls out Gus’ “or else,” knowing that if Gus could kill him he already would have. Gus says Jesse will come around, but until then, he’s got to take care of Hank, and if Walt gets in the way of that, Gus will kill his whole family.
Walt runs to Saul (who is dressing down Burr and Huell at the time, figuring Walt is crashing in to raise hell over Saul’s hiding of the Beneke thing from him, hilariously), asks Saul to give him the number of the disappearer guy we learned about earlier this season and tells Saul to give an anonymous tip in one hour to the DEA that the Cartel is planning to kill Hank. He goes home, finds there’s not enough money anymore to escape, Skyler admits she’s given it Beneke, then Skyler takes a call from Marie confirming that, yes, Saul indeed already called in the tip. We pull back from the maniacally laughing Walt, aerial view from the crawl space door making him look like he’s in a grave.
It’s intense stuff, broke baddies, very intense, the soundtrack, performances and editing making it feel especially grim. But like you guys always like to point out, when Walt’s truly backed into a corner, he strikes back brilliantly. Well, sure as shit would be hard for him to be cornered more than this. Gus probably knows already that Walt has alerted the police (think there’s any way Saul could get burned on this one?) about the hit out on Hank, and when Gus says he’s gonna kill your family, yeah, he’s gonna kill your fucking family.
But who knows how Walt’s gonna get out of it. I would think we’d pick up almost immediately after this week’s final scene next week. Is Walt gonna explain the truth of the situation to Skyler and Walter Jr and get them all out of there and in hiding somewhere? Is Skyler going to spill the beans in her conversation with Marie now that she’s seen Walt lose his mind? Wouldn’t it be fucking nuts if Gus actually killed Walt’s whole family before the season’s out? Throw yer theories my way!